shutterstock_1223075956

I spent way too much time on my phone last week. It was constantly buzzing with shipment notifications that I kept checking while in meetings and on calls. Tracking my holiday deliveries has become a regular part of my workday. The line between my personal time and work time is blurry.

For the next few weeks, many of us will be experiencing a noticeable shift in focus from our work lives to our personal lives. While we keep physically showing up to work everyday, our hearts and minds are at home making holiday plans and worrying about our to-do list. But that’s how it should be, because while I have a job that matters to me, I also know that I am more than a professional title.

We can’t know what we want until we know who we are.

This week’s intention

This is the third post in our series on end of year reflection. Each post has two questions to help you focus on what you truly want from the year ahead. Week 1’s questions explored meaning and curiosity. Week 2’s questions focused on habits and talents. For this week, you will be accessing how you’ve changed in the last year and who you want to be in 2019.

My intention is to set aside dedicated time for reflection.

This week’s questions are:

Are there any parts of my identity, image, or professional brand that are not authentic or true to who I am right now?

AND

What parts of myself do I want to express more fully next year?

These are hard questions to answer, perhaps harder than any of the others. When I sit down to think about these questions, I have to be honest about how I am showing up in the world. I have to dig deeper and ask myself:

  • What used to be true about what interests me, what I think, what I enjoy, or how I feel that is no longer true? Am I willing to show up in the world as the new me?
  • What am I revealing and/or holding back that creates a warped or slightly less than genuine portrayal of who I am?
  • Am I ready to fully bring my gifts into the world?

This is heavy stuff. I’ll be sitting with the two main questions all week and I hope you will be too. Your answers are worth the effort. Knowing how you want to show up in the world has a major impact on the work you can get done in 2019.

We’ll have more questions next week. See you then!


Learn more about Simply Service, my work and me at Purpose and Kourtney’s story.


Meet me here to connect more often.


Know someone else that needs peace and inspiration in their work life? Please share.

shutterstock_530760535

My holiday party agenda is separated into three distinct phases – arriving, enjoying and leaving. When I arrive, I place my attention on greeting the host and finding the food. Next, I find a place to settle in and start enjoying the people around me. I grab a glass of wine and generally stay in the same location all evening. I’m an introvert and prefer fewer, but deeper, conversations with a handful of people.

Eventually, it’s time to shift into the leaving phase. It starts with the recognition that I’m ready to leave. I survey the room to see who I need to say goodbye to and sometimes exchange contact information with. I locate my coat; I find the host and thank them for having me; and I quickly head to my car. I’m not one for long goodbyes. Once I make a decision to leave, all of my actions align to quickly get me from the party to my home.

Leaving is a state of mind that releases one experience and transitions us into something new.

This week’s intention

Last week, we set an intention to prioritize reflection as we move toward the end of the year. If you missed that post, you can find it here.

For the next four weeks, our weekly intention will remain the same, but our reflection questions will change. I encourage you to prioritize end of year reflection in the same way you would leaving a party. Each week, the first question helps you look back and gather the things you want to take with you into the next year. The second question helps to reveal your desires and align your actions toward where you want to go next.

My intention is to set aside dedicated time for reflection.

This week’s questions are:

What habits served me well last year?

AND

Which of my talents and gifts do I want to use more frequently next year?

I’m journaling more than usual these days and I’ll continue to pray on one of last week’s questions (what topics do I want to learn about next year?), as I haven’t settled in on my answer. Please feel free to connect with me and let me know how your reflection time is going. How are you designating time for reflection? Which questions are hardest for you to answer? What questions should I add to the list?

See you next week!


Learn more about Simply Service, my work and me at Purpose and Kourtney’s story.


Meet me here to connect more often.


Know someone else that needs peace and inspiration in their work life? Please share.

shutterstock_769081975

I’m blown away by the creative genius involved in marketing for the holiday season. Yet despite all the clever and cheery commercials, I know that the reality of our lives during this time of year is often quite different. We don’t spend our days singing and dancing in the aisles of stores. If anything, we may find ourselves less content and focused than usual with added pressures that tax our time, patience, emotional fortitude, and finances.

In the mist of all that the last five weeks of 2018 may bring, we each have a unique opportunity to create space for reflection and spark new ideas. This process takes time because often we don’t know what we want until we spend time reflecting on it.

It takes work to figure out what we truly want.

This week’s intention

If we aren’t careful, we can end up allocating all of our mental energy over the next five weeks toward completing holiday tasks instead of reflecting on our desire to live year-round with joy, purpose, and meaning. We can look up five weeks from now having only found great shopping deals, decorated our homes and attended social events – charging into the next year without being any closer to knowing what we want from it.

My intention is to set aside dedicated time for reflection.

Instead, I want to encourage you to be deliberate about shifting your energy toward reflection. Commit to spend the next five weeks reconnecting with the truest parts of yourself through joyful activities and cultivating inspiration for what next year could bring. This week, start with two simple questions:

What brought meaning into my life this year?

AND

What topics do I want to learn about next year?

I realize that journaling is not for everyone. I recommend writing out your thoughts if you can, but if not, simply set aside time to think on each question during your commute to work. Pray about them or ask them aloud just before starting your daily meditation. Hold each question in your spirit as you take a walk outside and see what answers come up for you.

We’ll have more questions next week. See you then!


Learn more about Simply Service, my work and me at Purpose and Kourtney’s story.


Meet me here to connect more often.


Know someone else that needs peace and inspiration in their work life? Please share.

shutterstock_725914702

I hosted Thanksgiving last year for over 30 of my closest friends and family. The day was full of gratitude and joy in many ways. But, it was also a whole lot of work.

If you’re reading this from the US, you are likely preparing for a holiday week ahead. For some, that might mean extra rest, but for many it will be just as (if not more) mentally and physically taxing as the average week. So the focus of this post is on being deliberate about managing our energy and planning for rest.

We have to prioritize getting what we need to stay spiritually full.

This week’s intention

This week will bring something different for each of us because Thanksgiving experiences are so varied – retail workers barely have a holiday at all, many of us deal with mentally and emotionally challenging relatives, traveling can be physically draining, and even the most excited hosts among us can succumb to fatigue by the time the last guest leaves.

My intention is to make time for rest and renewal.

Before you jump into all the planning, cooking, shopping, working, hosting and traveling that this week might hold, take a moment to consider how and when you will make time for rest.

Journal on the topic of rest and be as specific as possible. Ask yourself:

  • When will I be able to rest this week? What days and for how long?
  • What do I want to do during my rest time (e.g. read, sleep, watch television, mediate, take a walk, all of the above)?
  • Can I rest when I am around others or do I need to be alone?
  • Who do I need to discuss my rest schedule with in advance?
  • On days when no downtime can be found, how will I steal a few moments to reset (e.g. deep breathing exercises in the bathroom or praying silently for stamina)?
  • Is there anyone else I should or could help find time to rest?

I pray you have a pleasant holiday and I’m grateful for our time together. See you next week!


Learn more about Simply Service, my work and me at Purpose and Kourtney’s story.


Meet me here to connect more often.


Know someone else that needs peace and inspiration in their work life? Please share.

shutterstock_768829813

I spent the weekend in the Pennsylvania mountains with almost 100 women, all there to be spiritually renewed and refreshed. I’m viewed as a seasoned professional in my work life. But at this gathering, I found myself well outmatched by an abundance of wisdom and life experience. This particular group of women are my teachers. They are preparing me for a lot of things to come, but especially for the hard work of supporting those around me through the painful life events that will inevitably occur more in the second half of my life. They are teaching me how to get ready for the work of holding up others.

Holding a loving space for those in pain is a job that can be prepared for, practiced and refined.

This week’s intention

As a leader and a colleague, there are many opportunities to care for the people we work with. The line between professional and personal relationships will inevitably blur if we show up to our workplaces open-hearted. During my career, I have seen my colleagues bury their parents, siblings, best friends, spouses and even children. They have had health scares, family emergencies, mental health crises and devastating divorces – and those are just the things I know about. Statistically, I am sure I worked with people dealing with domestic violence, substance abuse problems, financial hardships and a host of other things they dared not speak about at work.

My intention is to learn how to hold up the people around me when they are weak.

There will be times in our lives when we are not strong enough to hold up others. In those seasons, we pray there is someone there to hold us up. But when we have the strength to do so, supporting those people in our lives (to include our work lives) that are hurting is a calling in itself, and perhaps the most important job we will ever have. It is a job we can prepare for and practice by taking in the wisdom of the spiritually-seasoned around us.

This week, reflect on your ability and strength to care for others. Pray and journal about attracting and nurturing relationships that can prepare you for the miracle work of love and support. Consider the following:

  • List the people in your life that have (or may have) wisdom to share about how to support others.
  • How do you think they learned what they know?
  • Are you able to spend enough time with these teachers to observe and soak in their lessons? If not, is it proximity or your priorities that are holding you back?

That’s plenty for one week. See you next week!


Learn more about Simply Service, my work and me at Purpose and Kourtney’s story.


Meet me here to connect more often.


Know someone else that needs peace and inspiration in their work life? Please share.

shutterstock_88633219

If you live in the US, and own a television, you are well aware that Election Day is tomorrow. Hopefully, you are filled with pride and duty to be voting. But also, you may be looking forward to sitting down in front of your television again without inescapable attack ads. Like many, I know there has to be a better way to engage in campaigning. But since many people make decisions rooted in fear, the frightening ads continue.

Fear based decisions grow our capacity for fear. Love based decisions grow our capacity for love.

This week’s intention

Frankly, if able, voting is the most important thing you will do this week – physically, emotionally, politically and spiritually. There is a lot on the line for many people and I want to encourage you to use your opportunity to speak up for what you believe in.

My intention is to make choices rooted in love.

But once Tuesday has passed, shift your prayers and reflection to how fear and love may be impacting your life and work. Journal about your fears and your desire to work in love.

  • Is fear driving any of your current business dealings or career decisions? Are you worried about your future safety or security?
  • Are you engaged in a line of work that profits from fear or builds in love? How does that impact you personally?
  • Are you building a broad and diverse professional network? If not, what is holding you back? Do you harbor any fears about certain groups of people?

This is your private time and nobody will know any of your answers, but it is important to do this work and be honest with yourself. It is impossible to  live in love when we are making decisions anchored in fear.

Next week, we will return to the topic of relationships. In the meantime, vote and encourage others to do so as well. See you soon!


Learn more about Simply Service, my work and me at Purpose and Kourtney’s story.


Meet me here to connect more often.


Know someone else that needs peace and inspiration in their work life? Please share.

 

cropped-lovetree8.jpg

Choosing love over hate is not a spiritual cliché – it is a habit built from discipline and by smaller life choices.  One of the many decisions that impact our ability to love is who we spend our time with.

I would not go back to high school for all the money in the world. During that time, I was constantly hiding my true self, especially my need for close loving relationships. I did (and still do) fall in love with the people around me, but I don’t mean that in the romantic sense. As a teen, I can remember being heartbroken over friendships that never became what I hoped they would or stopped being what they once were. One of the hardest lessons of my life, was learning to discern who was on my side so I could live and work with a more open heart.

The love we keep around us shapes who we become.

This week’s intention

Choosing which personal relationships to invest in is a major work decision. Our highest work will stem from an open heart. Yet, we learn to close our hearts each time we seek support from relationships that are not authentic and reciprocal. Next week, we will work on supporting others, but this week the focus is on cultivating the relationships that fill our spirits and build our capacity to love.

  • If you’ve tried to grow closer to someone, was that invitation of friendship enthusiastically accepted or are you doing all the work to move the relationship forward?
  • Do your mentors seem to have space in their lives for you? How hard is it to get a reply when you seek their counsel?
  • Are your new friends interested in learning who you are?
  • Are your old friends seeking to know you better and letting you grow?
  • Are the people you reach out to for support happy to hear from you and do you feel better from being in their presence?

There are a lot of reasons that great people fail to support and mentor us. This is not about identifying people who are bad friends or not worth our time – every soul is worth our time. This is about discernment and paying attention to the love you feel (or don’t feel) around you. Everyone will not be your supporter, but if you place someone in the friend or mentor category that relationship should be loving. We all need an abundance of love to do the hard work of service.

My intention is to grow, nurture and expand the loving relationships in my life.

This week, pray and mediate on love and discernment. See where you feel love present and where you don’t. You might be surprised to find unexpected people eager to support and mentor you, but you’ve been too busy trying to repair a relationship that is ready to be released or transformed into something else. Journal about the relationships you are investing your time and energy in? Who is truly on your side and are they preparing you to be a more powerful leader, mentor, and supporter to others?

Next week, we’ll stay on this topic – it’s a big one. See you then!


Learn more about Simply Service, my work and me at Purpose and Kourtney’s story.


Meet me here to connect more often.


Know someone else that needs peace and inspiration in their work life? Please share!

owl

When we were children, we tried to navigate change on our own. Change still felt exciting and we weren’t afraid of what might come next.

For my son, the idea of leaving for college is a welcomed change. I’m the one that needs help with the transition. I’ll be moving from the hands-on mothering years to something else – something yet to be defined. I know this new season will bring new opportunities for me as well, but I don’t know what they will be. I see clearly what I’m losing, but it’s unclear to me what comes next.

People who have been where you’re going can help you find your way.

This week’s intention

Let’s not sugar coat change. Some seasons in our lives will change with beauty and ease, but those will be few and far between. Most changes are both out of our control and come with a loss of some kind. Sometimes we have to find a new normal not because we chose to or want to, but because we have to. I work with many people going through these kinds of changes in their work life – a job is ending unexpectedly, a new boss negatively changes the culture, or a need to care for a child, family member in distress or aging parent forces a career pivot. Sometimes they are retiring or dealing with a medical issue.

We all need mentors and caring souls that have been through the life experiences we are about to go through. These people help us find our way, but first we have to find them.

Are you going through a life or work transition right now or might you be in the near future? Are you ready to think about what comes next and if so, who do you know that has been where you are and came out the other side?

My intention is to seek wisdom from the experiences of others.

This week, let’s take time to simply open our hearts to the wisdom of others. Next week, we will focus more on finding mentors, but for this week the only task is to get ready. It’s a small shift, but a big step. Pray about wisdom and your ability to hear, see and discern it. Meditate to quiet your mind and settle your spirit. Journal about wisdom – what it means to you, who has it and why you want to attract more of it.

See you next week!


Learn more about Simply Service, my work and me at Purpose and Kourtney’s story.


Meet me here to connect more often.


Know someone else that needs peace and inspiration in their work life? Please share!

Windingroad

My oldest son has a plan. His plan is to design his whole life by the end of this year. Lately on our car rides alone, he resurfaces out of the electronics to share with me his latest thinking on the entirety of his career – what he will study, the opportunities that will lead to, and the things he will avoid in life. He thinks it’s important to have a detailed plan, but I already know the pitfall of plans. Experience teaches us not to rely too much on them, because we are lousy at predicting the future.

The goal of a spiritual life is to trust, surrender and live in peace.

This week’s intention

I love witnessing the power unleashed when our labor is channeled to a dream. Dreams uplift and inspire. But without surrender, dreams can lead us to planning, scheming and living in anxiety.  Against my soul’s direction, I can get caught up trying to plan out the future of my work. I know that I want to work in joy, peace and service, but I still need help to surrender my work’s outcomes. I need help to dream in the human world AND live in peace in the spiritual one.

My intention is to trust that the experiences and opportunities that are meant for me will come to me.

Even typing the intention for this week, I had to stop and read it over several times. Was simply committing to trust the truest intention? I wasn’t sure if I should add something about what not to do. I thought about adding an intention to:

  • NOT predict and plan out our work’s path
  • NOT try to maneuver to opportunities that may not be meant for us
  • NOT define success ourselves when we don’t really know what would be most fulfilling
  • NOT worry about whether we’re doing the correct things

I thought about adding each of these intentions, but I realize now that we don’t need them. If we set our intention to trust in the things we believe, the rest will take care of itself. The opportunities that are meant for us, will come to us. But more importantly, we won’t spend our precious time worrying when we could be enjoying our gorgeous, simple lives right where we are in this moment.

I hope you will continue to dream, but set your intention to trust that the opportunities meant for you will come to you. I hope you will meditate on peace and mindfulness this week especially. Look for ways to enjoy the experience of your work without being tied to the outcomes. Let’s pray for each other and our intention to surrender and live in peace.

See you next week!


Learn more about Simply Service, my work and me at Purpose and Kourtney’s story.


Meet me here to connect more often.


Know someone else that needs peace and inspiration in their work life? Please share!

hanging plants

There are two types of children – those that clean their room when told and those that play in the mess instead. I was the latter one. For me, there was a sense of freedom that came with being messy. Leaving my things wherever I wanted proved that I had the power to do so – and I resisted giving that power up. Yet when I got married, I had to learn how to give my husband the gift of clear and clean spaces in our house. He needed order to feel at peace, and I needed order to create a beautiful environment for our lives.

Order and beauty are not the same thing, but they are connected. In our workspaces, order gives us the feeling of structure and calms anxiety, while beauty uplifts and invites inspiration. You can have order without beauty, but you cannot have beauty without order.

I want to feel inspired and energized at work. But during the last few weeks, I’ve let my office become cluttered with miscellaneous papers (that reminded me of things still undone) and various items that needed to be returned to the places they belong. I forgot how important my physical surroundings are to my spiritual connection.

A beautiful environment prepares us to discover the desires of our soul.

This week’s intention

The spaces we work in can support inner contentment and inspiration, or they can leave us feeling anxious and disconnected from our joy. It is not a coincidence that we feel relaxed the moment we walk into a spa. The environment was purposefully designed to calm and relax our senses.

Making a change is not the hardest career decision; the hardest decision is choosing what we want in the first place. If you are constantly surrounded by clutter or items you find unattractive, broken or useless – it is having an impact on your ability to know the desires of your soul.

My intention is to live surrounded by beauty and inspired to pursue what I truly want.

This week, let’s take time to improve our physical work environments to whatever extent we can. Ask yourself:

  • Is my space in order? If not, remove, store and reorganize as you feel moved to.
  • Are there things in my line of sight that I find beautiful? If not, bring in new items (plants, office supplies, décor, etc.) or rearrange what you already have to bring it closer.
  • Are there other ways to engage my senses at work?
    • What textures do I like to touch?
    • What scents do I want to smell?
    • What colors spark my peace or joy?
    • What memories do I want to keep top of mind (e.g. wedding photos, pictures of family or friends, art projects, beloved books)?

Look for simple ways to add beauty into your space and see what ideas and thoughts are inspired. Do you suddenly feel drawn to nature? Is quality time with loved ones calling you? Do you need more adventure in your life? Is your soul begging you to rest?

Create a space where you are inspired to listen to the unique needs of your soul. This especially matters in our workspaces where we spend so much of our time. Whether your space is an office, coffee shop, home, classroom, factory, studio, vehicle or even the great outdoors – work to shape your environment and pay closer attention to what comes up during your prayer and meditation time.

More on discovering what we need next week!


Learn more about Simply Service, my work and me at Purpose and Kourtney’s story.


Meet me here to connect more often.


Know someone else that needs inspiration in their work life?